Imagine a time before planes, rockets - even automobiles. When people traveled long distances, they often went by steamship or railroadImagine the Lifestyle By exploring the Henry B. Plant Museum you can imagine the lifestyle—the way people lived—over 100 years ago when the Tampa Bay Hotel opened in the 1890s. Imagine that you and your family traveled to Florida every winter to get away from the icy cold up North. Imagine staying at one of the most famous and fancy hotels in America for weeks or even months at a time. You are staying at the Tampa Bay Hotel. The Tampa Bay Hotel was built by Henry B. Plant. Mr. Plant was a businessman who made a fortune owning and operating railroads and steamships. He built the first railroad on the west coast of Florida into Tampa, so that goods could be loaded onto his steamships at Port Tampa and shipped to Cuba and many other ports. Once his railroad was complete, he built the Tampa Bay Hotel so that wealthy northerners would have a place to stay when they traveled to Tampa on his railroad. He eventually owned seven other hotels in Florida. Steamships and Railroads Imagine a time before planes, rockets—even automobiles. When people traveled long distances, they often went by steamship or railroad. Businesses that wanted to send their goods to be sold elsewhere transported them the same way. Before Mr. Plant built his railroad into Florida, there was no way to get fresh vegetables, fruits, fish or cattle to other parts of the country quickly. But once his railroad and steamship lines were running, all kinds of things could at last be shipped into or out of Florida quickly. At the same time Mr. Plant was “opening up” the west coast of Florida, Mr. Henry Flagler was building railroads to “open up” the east coast. Minarets and Keyholes The minarets, or high, domed silver towers, on the top of our building have become a symbol for the city of Tampa. When you visit the Museum, count the minarets. How many can you find? Notice that there are similar shapes, such as domes and cupolas, on top of the building, also. Imagine that electricity is the newest technology. The Hotel used electric lights, with light bulbs invented by Mr. Thomas Edison. But natural sunshine also lit up the rooms. The large keyhole windows inside our Museum are part of every guest room doorway. Even with the door closed for privacy, the keyhole windows let a lot of light into the hallways from the windows in the walls inside the rooms. The keyhole window takes its name from the shape of an old-fashioned keyhole in a door. The Gilded Age The Tampa Bay Hotel opened in 1891, during a time known as “The Gilded Age.” “Gilded” means covered with gold. In the 1890s in America, there were plenty of businessmen who were becoming rich fast, and that’s one way that the time period got its nickname. During the Gilded Age, young people wanted to be considered little ladies and gentlemen, so polite behavior and manners were very important. Good grooming and proper clothes were a must. Children were to be seen and not heard. Even so, children and adults still had fun enjoying lots of new sports and activities, such as baseball, basketball, golf and bicycling. Vocabulary:
Cupola: a dome-like structure on a roof. You can find 4 cupolas on the roof of the Henry B. Plant Museum. Dome: a ball-like shape on the roof of a building. There are 3 domes on the roof of the Henry B. Plant Museum. Minaret: a tall tower on the top of a building used for calling Muslim people top prayer. Minarets are usually found in Middle Eastern countries. There are 6 minarets on the roof of the Henry B. Plant Museum and they have become a symbol of Tampa. Port: a harbor where ships can load and unload goods Souvenir: something given or kept as a reminder of a place visited Steamboat: a boat powered by a steam engine used to transport people and cargo which travels on rivers; a steamship travels on the ocean. Symbol: something which conveys information or ideas without the use of wordsCheck out these books in our Museum Store :
Maggie & Max at the Museum If Our Hotel Could Talk Through the Keyhole: A Young Person’s Guide to the Henry B. Plant MuseumColoring Pages
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